Ukraine says it shot down hypersonic Russian missile with Patriot system

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine on Saturday mentioned it had used the U.S.-made Patriot air protection system to shoot down a Russian hypersonic missile within the skies over the Kyiv capital area — demonstrating that it now has the power to thwart certainly one of Moscow’s most-feared weapons.

Till now, the hypersonic missile, referred to as Kinzhal, “Dagger” in Russian, had been unstoppable by Ukraine, and several other had struck targets because the begin of Russia’s conflict in February 2022. Touring 5 instances quicker than the velocity of sound, and at a decrease elevation than conventional ballistic missiles, the Kinzhal was too quick for Ukraine’s air defenses to even react.

“Congratulations to the Ukrainian folks on a historic occasion!” the top of Ukraine’s air command, Mykola Oleshchuk posted, together with a lightning bolt emoji. “Sure, we introduced down the ‘unparalleled’ Kinzhal!”

Reviews had circulated in current days that Ukraine had stopped a Kinzhal as a part of a broader Russian air assault on Kyiv, which additionally included drones, within the early hours of Thursday. The drones additionally have been stopped, officers mentioned.

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The destruction of the missile, reported to be a Kh-47 fired by a Russian MiG-31K fighter jet, demonstrated the possibly game-changing function of the Patriot system, which prices roughly $1 billion per set up.

The US and the Netherlands every agreed to donate a Patriot system, and Ukrainian troopers had gone to Oklahoma to be skilled to make use of it.

Oleshchuk’s submit additionally included a Ukrainian flag and the phrase “Patriot,” however he mentioned additional particulars could be reported “all in its personal time,” in order to not help Russia.

The Patriot, which stands for Phased Array Monitoring Radar for Intercept on Goal, is a surface-to-air system and probably the most superior air-defense capabilities within the U.S. arsenal. It consists of a robust radar, management station, energy generator, launch stations and help automobiles.

It may use various kinds of interceptors — to destroy, as an example, plane and missiles in flight, and radar installations — and figuring out the particular one which Ukraine used would reveal the total capabilities Kyiv now possesses. Relying on the vary, this might, as an example, embrace the power to shoot down planes over Belarusian and even Russian territory.

The Patriot system makes use of three forms of missiles, all of which might “conceivably take out these Russian bombers which are hovering over Belarus air house,” mentioned Reuben Johnson, an professional on U.S. navy {hardware}.

However solely one of many missiles — the Missile Section Enhancement, or MSE — is designed to take out the Kinzhal. It may additionally intercept ballistic missiles carrying chemical or nuclear payloads at a “maintain out” altitude, Johnson mentioned, destroying an incoming missile outdoors the environment in order that the weapons don’t contaminate areas on the bottom.

“That the Patriots are there and have this sort of a attain now would give any Russian pilot pause and would make him really feel lower than safe,” he mentioned.

What you need to know about Russia’s hypersonic missiles

Michael Kofman, a navy professional at CNA, a U.S.-based coverage institute, mentioned that an excessive amount of was being product of the Kinzhal and that it was not significantly totally different from different ballistic missiles. The Kinzhal is a variant of Russia’s Iskander-M.

“Don’t perceive the curiosity in Russian use of Kinzhal. There’s nothing particular or significantly thrilling about this method,” Kofman tweeted.

“Iskander-M is a protracted standing system. Tons of have been fired. Kinzhal is an air launched variant of this method,” he wrote. “It makes use of the plane for added vary and preliminary velocity. In any other case it appears unremarkable. It’s ‘hypersonic’ in the identical manner as many different ballistic missiles.”

Since October, Russia has performed an unrelenting marketing campaign of airstrikes in opposition to crucial infrastructure in Ukraine, looking for to destroy its vitality programs. The strikes have killed scores of civilians, in some circumstances dozens at a time when residential buildings have been hit. A Kinzhal missile, as an example, is believed to have struck an house constructing in January within the central Ukrainian metropolis of Dnipro, killing not less than 46 folks.

Russia’s air assaults continued in a single day Friday into Saturday, with one other eight assault drones shot down, Ukrainian officers mentioned.

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Beforehand, Ukrainian officers had mentioned they have been powerless in opposition to ballistic missile strikes. The missiles traveled so shortly that Ukraine’s air alert programs didn’t even have time to sound the alarm.

When the Kinzhal missile was intercepted, about 2:30 a.m. Thursday, it induced a thunderous increase that might be heard all through the Ukrainian capital and jolted many residents away from bed.

“They have been saying that the Patriot is an outdated American weapon, and Russian weapons are the very best on this planet,” Ukrainian air power spokesman Yurii Ihnat mentioned on Ukrainian tv. “Nicely, there may be affirmation that it successfully works in opposition to even an excellent hypersonic missile.”

One yr of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine

Portraits of Ukraine: Each Ukrainian’s life has modified since Russia launched its full-scale invasion one yr in the past — in methods each huge and small. They’ve discovered to outlive and help one another under extreme circumstances, in bomb shelters and hospitals, destroyed house complexes and ruined marketplaces. Scroll through portraits of Ukrainians reflecting on a year of loss, resilience and fear.

Battle of attrition: Over the previous yr, the conflict has morphed from a multi-front invasion that included Kyiv within the north to a battle of attrition largely concentrated alongside an expanse of territory within the east and south. Follow the 600-mile front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces and take a look at where the fighting has been concentrated.

A yr of dwelling aside: Russia’s invasion, coupled with Ukraine’s martial legislation stopping fighting-age males from leaving the nation, has pressured agonizing choices for thousands and thousands of Ukrainian households about how to balance safety, duty and love, with once-intertwined lives having change into unrecognizable. Right here’s what a train station full of goodbyes appeared like final yr.

Deepening world divides: President Biden has trumpeted the reinvigorated Western alliance cast throughout the conflict as a “world coalition,” however a more in-depth look suggests the world is far from united on issues raised by the Ukraine war. Proof abounds that the trouble to isolate Putin has failed and that sanctions haven’t stopped Russia, due to its oil and gasoline exports.

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